Machine Man, Issue 1, Cover


Krackles's picture
Posted by: Krackles | February 25, 2012

Inking Man

Damn it, no sooner we give back proper credit to Giacoia on the Sandman cover case and here we are again.
Why must I be the one to raise the dreadful question again?

Sorry Frankie but shouldn't that one go to Verpoorten's credit?

John S.'s picture
Posted by: John S. | February 25, 2012


...I'm sticking with Giacoia on this one. Look at the line weights, and how clean and tight it is -- sure signs of Feerless Frank's handiwork.

Krackles's picture
Posted by: Krackles | February 25, 2012


John, pay attention to the fingers on the foreground hand, soft body outlines and the left leg (on the right)… Way looser than Giacoia's regular style.
Plus, the black folds on the GI… They look stiff. unlike like Frank's brushwork.

I agree that, at first sight, the global look calls for Giacoia but with closer study… I have doubts.
I believe that's Jumbo doing his best Giacoia "impression".'s picture
Posted by: | February 25, 2012


I have nothing whatever to say about this! Just thought everybody would like to know. :)

John S.'s picture
Posted by: John S. | February 25, 2012

Hey... can help ME on this one! So far I'm outvoted 2 to 1!

Frank Fosco's picture
Posted by: Frank Fosco | February 25, 2012

Shall we dance?

When I first saw this revealed today and saw the credit for the inker I was like, "Here we go again." As Krackles, I believe it's Jumbo John also. Just compare the Black Panther 1 that we just got, with this cover and the close up hands alone on both covers, along with rocky textures and some of the open/feathered shadow and you'll see it's Verpoorten. Johnny S., it's Johnny V.

Krackles's picture
Posted by: Krackles | February 25, 2012

Jumping at Shadows!

Listen to Frank, John ;-)

I would add that Giacoia had nothing to do with the interior art too. Mike Royer was the inker.
Wasn't he already busy inking Romita on the Spider-man comic strip?

Also, it seems that with words spreading concerning Kirby's departure from comics, many inkers lined up to get a last chance to ink a Kirby's cover (Simonson, Austin, Layton, etc… inked one cover each on the second half of Kirby's run).

John S.'s picture
Posted by: John S. | February 25, 2012

Oh boy... we go again, indeed! Yes, Giacoia was helping Romita on the Spidey newspaper strip by this time, but that doesn't necessarily mean he couldn't have done this cover. You guys make some good points, of course, just looks a little too inorganic (for lack of a better word) to be Verpoorten's inking. Y'know, it might even be someone else altogether, like John Tartaglione, who also ghosted for Giacoia at this time. I'd like to get some input from someone like Nick Caputo on this one. Anyone know what the GCD lists it as? The Kirby Checklist says Giacoia, and personally, I'm still inclined to go with that.

Krackles's picture
Posted by: Krackles | February 25, 2012

Kommit to the Kommitte!

Unfortunately, I have no reference to compare Tartaglione with Verpoorten but the more I study this cover, the more I'm convinced Giacoia did not ink it.

Honestly, it's one of these instances where one needs to go beyond the general assumption.
It's so easy to accept this cover as Giacoia's work that most of us probably didn't bother enough to give it a more scrutinious attention.

The Kirby Kommittee should know better than to follow the trend and will have to keep its many eyes wide open.

Frank Fosco's picture
Posted by: Frank Fosco | February 25, 2012

That well spring of knowledge

John S., said, "Anyone know what the GCD lists it as?"

Wouldn't be the first time we had to refute those guys. Not the most reliable source for getting it right.

Frank Fosco's picture
Posted by: Frank Fosco | February 25, 2012

Do tell

What'd I tell ya--GCD getting it wrong again.

John S.'s picture
Posted by: John S. | February 25, 2012

I dunno, guys.

I mean, look at the faces on those two soldiers in the background. See how clean and simplified they look? Even Machine Man's face looks cleaned up the way Giacoia would do it. Don't you think this could just be a case of Frankie G. rushing through the work a bit quicker than usual? That's what it looks like to me. But if you guys don't agree, I'll bow out of this one and let you hash it out with Tom K. Maybe I'm wrong, but I've gotta go with my gut instincts, which tell me that Giacoia was the inker.

Frank Fosco's picture
Posted by: Frank Fosco | February 25, 2012


...what's with all the markings on the back of the page? Wonder if that would give us any clues.

John S.'s picture
Posted by: John S. | February 25, 2012

I was wondering the same thing.

It might have been the inker testing the line widths of his various pens, to see which one to use on different areas of the drawing. If someone looked at the backs of all the Giacoia pages and all the Verpoorten pages in the gallery for similar markings, that might help to determine the inker's identity.

John S.'s picture
Posted by: John S. | February 25, 2012

A Quick Scan

After doing a quick (and admittedly incomplete) scan of the backs of Giacoia and Verpoorten pages in the gallery, the only one I found that had somewhat similar markings was this one by Giacoia...

It's hardly conclusive, but if someone cared to do a more thorough search, some additional clues might turn up.

P.S. Does anyone know what "S.S." stands for in terms of comic cover production? It's written (probably by Verpoorten) on the back of nearly every Marvel cover in the gallery. It must have something to do with negative and positive stats, but I can't figure out exactly what the two letters actually stand for.

Krackles's picture
Posted by: Krackles | February 26, 2012

Mark my words

Hardly conclusive, that's the word, John!

If anything, I could see it supporting my claim.
Giacoia's markings are thinner and longer on the back of the FF page.
Verpoorten's markings (supposely) are shorter and thicker and… wavy.

Anyway, you are well aware that Jumbo style is rounder, more "organic" than Giacoia's.
Look at the outlines around Machine Man's left arm. Those lines are fluid and soft while Frank would ink them "sharper".

I concede it's a difficult case, though.
Upon a closer look at the background figures. I'm leaning on Giacoia.

Could be that during Kirby's final pencilling days, Frank slightly modified his approach to adjust with The King's latter style.

John S.'s picture
Posted by: John S. | February 26, 2012

Speaking of modifications...

...check out the cornerbox title at the top left. It says "The Defenders". Good thing Marvel modified that before the issue went to press!

As for the inklines on the back, I think they're probably close enough to the ones on the back of the F.F. page to support my claim. And since the figures are larger on a cover than they are on a regular panel-page, of course the lines are going to be a bit thicker, since the inker would use a slightly fatter pen.

So yeah, I would agree with your conjecture that Giacoia could have easily modified his approach a bit for this late-period cover...and I'm sticking with my opinion that Feerless Frank was the inker -- until you guys modify your opinion to match mine! ;)

Frank F.'s picture
Posted by: Frank F. (not verified) | February 26, 2012

re: Mark my words

Yeah--it's me, Frank F. For some reason my computer won't let me log in on the site.

The pen test on the back of what we know to be Giacoia for sure on one of the boards--if anything I think it boasters Johnny S.'s case that Giacoia had something to do with this cover. Perhaps Frank G. started inking it and Jumbo John finished it up. What we may have here is a first and second inker.

DougDowning's picture
Posted by: DougDowning | January 27, 2017

Not Giacoia's style

Not to inflame an old argument, but I think the original credit on this was bogus. It would make a heck of a lot more sense to assume Royer as a default; otherwise, I think it's gotta be Verpoorten.

I see no signs of Frank Giacoia's hand in this. Everything I've seen of his work on Kirby's Captain America in the mid ’70s and even in the ’60s has a distinct visual style. He honors Kirby's blocky figures and bold use of blacks, but he tends to make the figures look flat and two-dimensional, reducing them to marks on a page. His textures have a rough-hewn quality, often coming across as disorganized and labored. He frequently favors the pen over the brush, inking lines of uniform thickness. (I consider him the 'anti-John Verpoorten', whose brush-intensive style appears elegant, smooth, fast and effortless.) Giacoia's inking is not an altogether bad style for Kirby, but it's not my favorite by a long shot. And maybe I'm pigeonholing him, but this is how I've come to identify his work.

In particular, look at the ‘squiggles’; they're way too tight and precise. This whole thing is ‘squiggle city’. We wouldn't be feeling them to this degree if Giacoia had been inking. Likewise, the wrinkles and folds in the soldiers' clothing seem too organized. Try comparing this to the cover of 2001: A Space Odyssey #9 (assuming the Giacoia credit there is accurate). The squiggles do not look the same: There's a looseness there, or lack of precision and detail, where it appears as if a single brushstroke is being used, creating a more uniform thickness.

I admit I find it hard to pinpoint Royer's style, but there seems to be a facile smoothness to it—integrating both brush and pen, as he breaks down Jack's shapes or gestures into their individually inkable components—that feels like a possible match to this cover, and Royer was handling so much of Jack's work at this stage. But the more I look at this, the more I think it could easily be Verpoorten's work. I can't confidently say either way. (And, of course, if it's Verpoorten, then yes, Giacoia may have been involved to some degree, too. The key is: It doesn't look like a Giacoia ink job, so it was either co-inked by Verpoorten, or the original credit was a mistake.)

I have to confess, I'm not used to ‘zooming in’ to a high level of detail. The more I do this, the more disoriented I get (which is why I'm backpeddling a bit, as I go). I'm going primarily with my gut reaction to the artwork at publication size.

Krackles's picture
Posted by: Krackles | September 23, 2017

Stylish Style Issue

You are welcome on the controversy Doug and I agree: this is not Giacoia's work but rather Verpoorten's!

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